Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gold Nuggets

Nuggets are handy-dandy snacks. I grew up on chicken nuggets. So do most kids these days, and they are a popular item on school lunch and restaurant menus. Of course, the best nuggets are completely animal free. Let's forget that they are not the most healthy menu choice, even veganized, because sometimes, you just gotta have the junk and the convenience foods.

So, what kind of tasty nuggets are available for vegans? Here's the list, and then my recommendations.

~Boca Chik’n Nuggets* (regular not the natural one which has eggs)

(*Watch out for both Boca and Morningstar Farms brands as they have a tendency to go back and forth between vegan and non-vegan recipes for their products. Morningstar Farms' nuggets are NOT vegan at this time, though some of their products are vegan-friendly.)

The Health is Wealth nuggets are fairly bland. With a good sauce, they are completely edible, but I never go out of my way for them. The Boca nuggets aren't super either, but again, they are completely fine with a good sauce. I definitely recommend the Nate's and the Gardein, with Gardein the top option by far. Before Gardein's nuggets I loved Nate's. And I ate them so often within a short time that I overdosed, so I haven't had them in ages. They have a unique flavor that the other nuggets don't, so try them even if you are not keen on the others. Gardein is just plain my current favorite brand of chicken analogues. I like the textures and the flavors.

Nate's Chicken Style Meatless Nuggets
Ranking: ***

Gardein Crispy Tenders

Health is Wealth Chicken Free Nuggets
Ranking: **

Boca Chik'n Nuggets
Ranking: **1/2

***** awesome! Highly recommended.
**** hey, this is pretty dang good.
*** not bad at all.
** eh.
* bad. Keep looking for alternatives.

[Nate's can be found at Sprouts and Fry's Marketplace. Gardein can be found at Whole Foods. Health is Wealth can be found at AJ's Fine Foods and Whole Foods. Boca can be found at Fry's Marketplace, Whole Foods, and Sprouts.]


The best accompaniment to any brand of nugget is dipping sauce. I like BBQ sauce or agave nectar. I especially like Annie's brand BBQ sauce, particularly the Smokey Maple BBQ. And I usually purchase the Madhava Agave Light Nectar, which is the perfect replacement for honey. (The lighter the color of the agave nectar, the milder the taste.)
Both Annie's and Madhava can be found at Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Fry's Marketplace.

If you are a ranch dressing fan, well, I don't have much for you. I have yet to find the perfect pre-made vegan ranch dressing that you can find at the store. They exist, but I'm not sold on the flavors. However, I do love the ranch dressing they make at Native Foods, a vegan restaurant chain in California. Native Foods makes one of my all-time favorite sandwiches, the Chicken Run Ranch Burger! There is a Native Foods Restaurant Cookbook, and you can find the ranch recipe inside. Hallelulah!

Here is the ranch recipe, thanks to :

Rodeo Ranch Dressing
1 cup vegan mayonnaise (try Vegenaise- Sprouts, Fry's Marketplace, and Whole Foods)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. chopped parsley
1/2-1 cup soy milk to thin
(I use Silk Plain, but you could use whatever non-dairy milk brand you prefer)

Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Add a little soy milk until you reach your desired consistency. For a lower-fat version, use non- or low-fat vegan mayo or plain soy yogurt.


Missantrhopics said...

I love agave nectar, though I don't buy it anymore because I go through it in no time!

Kenike said...

Do you use it in tea and stuff? I use it a lot in baking, smoothies, and as dips and dressings.